A question of humanity
A question of humanity – this is the name given to the FNV’s major campaign to improve migrant workers’ housing situation. Migrant workers have been exploited in the Netherlands for years. This must be stopped.
In the Netherlands, the employment agency that can fire you on any given day is also your landlord. Most employment agencies also abuse Dutch law to deprive migrant workers of large parts of their wages. They are allowed to withhold money to provide migrant workers with a bed and withhold up to 30% of wages through so-called “fines”.
The FNV has heard many examples of such abuse and can only conclude that the migrant workers themselves are already a revenue model before they even start working. Masses of migrant workers are stuffed into badly constructed, overcrowded houses with poor conditions. They hope for honest work and a better future.
migrant workers work in the Netherlands.
They often live in poor conditions, pay high rents, and have no privacy.
Do you earn less than 10 euros per hour?
Lots of migrant workers have no chance at a better future with employment agencies. The total number of migrant workers in the Netherlands is estimated to be around 830,000. However, nobody knows the exact numbers because migrant workers do not register with the municipalities in the Netherlands. With most employment agencies, workers are forbidden from registering.
Since 1 May 2019, the FNV has spoken to hundreds of migrant workers from Randstad, Tempoteam, Level One, Covebo, and Inperson. Everyone we spoke to was fired because they registered with the municipality. Many told the FNV that they want to be treated equally to Dutch nationals, but that in practice the employment agencies even deprive them of their right to exist by forbidding them from registering with the municipality.
From speaking to migrant workers, the FNV quickly amassed a huge collection of examples of abuse. The abuse includes having to share a small refrigerator with six people, a €250 fine for losing a bicycle key, and having to share a bedroom with someone you don't know yet (with your roommate often working days while you work nights). There are also guards who are called coordinators by the employment agencies. They can invade your house at any time to conduct inspections and hand out even more fines. However, if an ambulance has to come to your house at night, there is no coordinator to open the barrier.